Salve H. Matheson – Major General, United States Army

Tuesday, 11 January 2005:

Decorated veteran Matheson dies at 84

Carmel resident served in unit depicted in ‘Band of Brothers'
Courtesy of the Herald

Highly decorated Major General Salve H. Matheson, who participated in the D-Day invasion of Normandy, the seizure of Hitler's Eagle's Nest and later vital operations in Korea and Vietnam, died Saturday at his Carmel home. He was 84.

The heroics and camaraderie of Matheson and the rest of the 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division were made famous in historian Stephen Ambrose's 1992 novel “Band of Brothers.” In 2001, HBO released a miniseries with the same name based on the book.

Matheson amassed a list of military honors, including the Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, four Bronze Stars, 12 Air Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, the Purple Heart, Master Parachutist Badge and Combat Infantry Badge.

Foreign awards include the Bronze Lion and the Orange Lanyard of the Netherlands.

In 1968, Matheson was recognized with the Outstanding Professional Achievement award from UCLA.

Molly Matheson said her father was a modest man who didn't boast of his achievements during his Army career.

“They were remarkable men,” Molly Matheson said. “They were regular kind of guys but extraordinary in terms of what they did.”

Matheson was born in Seattle on August 11, 1920, and his family moved to the Monterey Peninsula the same year.

He attended schools in Monterey and Pacific Grove. After graduating from UCLA, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army. He also attended the Naval War College in Rhode Island.

In World War II, Matheson's units also participated in the liberation of Holland and the defense of Bastogne, Matheson also participated in the surrender of German Lieutenant General Hans Speidel, chief of staff to the “Desert Fox,” Gen. Erwin Rommel.

He also served in the 1st Infantry Division, 82nd Airborne Division and commanded the 10th Special Forces Group in Europe.

During the Korean War, Matheson was the G-3 Plans Officer, X-Corps, and participated in the Inchon and Wonsan landings and the amphibious withdrawal from Hungnam.

In Vietnam he commanded the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division and participated in the Tet Offensive.

Matheson returned to Korea in 1969 and commanded the 2nd Infantry Division on the Korean demilitarized zone.

In 1975, Matheson retired at Fort McPherson, Georgia, and returned home to the Monterey Peninsula.

He was a member of the International Club of Carmel.

Molly Matheson said her father kept in touch with the soldiers of E Company and attended reunions whenever he could.

“He loved the men he served with.”

He is survived by his wife, Patricia; daughters Catherine Wallace of La Cañada and Molly Matheson of Sebastopol; a son, Michael Matheson of Carmel; and four grandchildren.

Burial will take place at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. Memorial contributions can be made to the Carmelite Monastery, Highway 1, Carmel 93923.


  • MG   US ARMY
  • DATE OF BIRTH: 08/11/1920
  • DATE OF DEATH: 01/08/2005


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